Happy November, sweet friends. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating. November is truly my favorite month. The focus on gratitude mixed with the anticipation of the Christmas season deeply fills my heart with peace and joy. When the first Christmas carols began on the radio about a week ago, I prayed aloud, “Thank you so much, Lord,” before I even realized the way my soul felt the relief of the Christmas songs. That prayer was an exhale. Life is hard and those Christmas songs are the needed boost I need every year. November refuels and refocuses my heart because it is filled with truth, beauty, and goodness without the inevitable fast pace of December.
With that said, I’ve been thinking about sharing my favorite Advent resources with you, sweet reader friends. I’ve often waited until after Thanksgiving and it has occurred to me (after 7 years of writing this blog) that you will have more time to gather and prepare if I share Advent resources now. I’m sorry it took me so long to make this realization. Thank you for staying with me, nonetheless.
Allow me to introduce you to my own Advent reading plan for this year. I’m reading the Advent study from She Reads Truth. I read it last year with my sister in law, Jenny and my mom. I absolutely loved the study. This year, my friend Mary asked if we could read the same Advent study so that we can share thoughts back and forth. You know how I love sharing books and Bible studies with friends, so of course I am thrilled to be reading this year’s Advent study along with my friend, Mary. We reviewed several options and decided to go with She Reads Truth again this year. Friends, I’m sitting with the book on my lap and my cup of coffee as I write this. This year’s study is absolutely beautiful. I can always, always count on She Reads Truth to be theologically sound, rich in Scripture and Biblical wisdom, and just lovely. I read their studies all year long on their app. Here’s a glimpse at the Advent study for 2022.
It’s called Joy of Every Longing Heart based on lyrics from Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. I’m telling you. The girls from She Reads Truth get me. I began flipping the pages of this study at 5am this morning and it’s my cup of tea.
You can order this study at the She Reads Truth website on this very page. There’s also a a study for men. My husband is reading it this year. Additionally, you can find a study for children and conversation cards. To be clear, this is not an advertisement. I simply want to share these resources because I believe in studying the Bible and this company leads us well.
Here are a few other Advent resources that I highly recommend. These can all be found on Amazon. Each of these is recommended because it has been used in my own home in past years.
Advent Resources for Christmas
1. Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas This is my all time favorite. We have used it every year since our boys were tiny. This has probably been used in the Stanford home for ten years or more.
2. The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas This is another wonderful resource from Ann Voskamp. This is the book for women, similar to the above devotion written for children. I’ve read this book multiple times and have invited women to read it alongside me multiple times. I love it!
3. Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul David Tripp Bret has read this study and recommends it. He has passed this recommendation along to other people at church, as well.
4. Joy Upon Joy: An Advent Devotional by Charles Haddon Spurgeon This was a good one, as you might expect from Charles Spurgeon. According to Goodreads, I read this study during Christmas 2018. I don’t remember it in great detail, but I do remember it as a valuable resource for the Advent season.
5. Star from Afar: The Christmas Calendar and Playset If you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning, you might remember that I shared this resource many years ago. The year that this set launched, Natalie, the creator of Star from Afar gifted our family with this set in exchange for my review on the blog. Well, it is absolutely precious. My boys were very young when we first owned this book and nativity set. We spent a lot of time with this resource and it was well loved in our home. It was so much fun! We still put out the nativity each year even though the boys have outgrown it’s original purpose. (I just love nativities.) I highly recommend this for parents of children in preschool through primary school grades.
6. Last but not least, this is my very favorite nativity for families with little ones. I gift them every year and cannot get enough of the way it begins conversations about Jesus in the hearts of chubby faced toddlers. My niece was all about the nativity last year. I’ve probably gifted this nativity set at least five times. The Fisher Price Little People Nativity is perfect for small hands and children just beginning to understand the meaning of our celebration of Jesus’ birth. I’m passionate about getting this into the hands of little ones. Last year, a local big box store (who I’ll not name for discretion) wasn’t carrying this nativity set and I wrote an email (in a very amicable and polite way) to the corporate company asking them to include this nativity on their shelves as a resource for the Christian celebration of Christmas. I’m hoping to see more nativities this year! Hello, my name is Courtney Stanford and I am a “Karen” (as my boys would say) about Christmas nativities. Perhaps this isn’t the best way to end this post, but I’m keeping it real on this blog as usual. It’s worth saying that I did commend the company on their selection of Christmas cards. I think that helps.
Friends, I hope you’ll find some of these resources valuable for your home, your heart, and the hearts of those you love this coming Advent season. If you order any of these resources now, I think you’ll have plenty of time to be ready by November 27th when Advent officially begins this year.
Let every heart prepare Him room.
From my heart to yours,